National

Govt to close 10 inefficient,
non-productive agencies

The government is set to dissolve 10 of 88 non-structural state bodies that have been deemed inefficient or that have overlapping authorities, a minister says.

Administrative Reforms Minister Azwar Abubakar said on Saturday that financing these institutions could be seen as a waste of state funds.

Azwar confirmed that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has been criticized for his predilection for creating unnecessary agencies to boost his administration’s performance, would issue a presidential decree to authorize the plan in the near future.

Among the 10 bodies are the Indonesia Sugar Council, the National Aeronautics and Space Council, the National Law Commission, the National Book Council and the Eastern Indonesia Regional Development Council. “The government will not lose anything without them,” said Azwar, who is a National Mandate Party (PAN) politician.

Such non-structural bodies are formed by the President and are structurally not under any ministries. Azwar added that the government would also look at restructuring the remaining 78 bodies to improve performance with the option of merging some with other bodies with similar job descriptions.

“The evaluation on the remaining non-structural bodies will keep on going,” said Azwar, who has been in office for less than two months.

The evaluation of the inefficient state bodies was initiated by Azwar’s predecessor, E.E. Mangindaan, a Democratic Party politician who is now the transportation minister. “Some non-structural bodies had almost no activity at all,” Mangindaan said.

The National Aeronautics and Space Council, for example, had conducted only one meeting — back in 1980 — since its establishment in 1955.

Such state bodies have been under scrutiny since 2005 because of their ineffectiveness and potential waste of state funds, while the bodies’ contribution to the state were deemed insignificant.

The Jakarta Post observed some of these bodies earlier this year and found that most of their offices were empty. Others had signs of life, but it was little more than a few workers chatting with others.

In 2010, the ministry recorded that inefficiencies potentially caused Rp 14.9 trillion (US$1.64 billion) in state losses, as most of the funds were allocated to pay salaries.

Azwar, however, said that the civil servants working at the dissolved bodies would be transferred to other state bodies. This would mean that the move would not see immediate budget-saving effects since the government would still have to pay the transferred employees.

Under the 1999 State Employment Law, dismissal of civil servants before retirement only occurs under extraordinary circumstances such as high-profile criminal offenses and physical or mental problems.

Lawmakers and the government have begun deliberating the state civil apparatus bill, which is planned to replace the 1999 law and may include articles on dismissing a civil servant deemed to be performing poorly or having failed to meet minimal competency standards.

On the chopping block

• National Law Commission
• Indonesia Sugar Council
• National Book Council
• National Aeronautics and Space Council
• Eastern Indonesia Regional Development Council
• Integrated Economy Regional Development Board
• National Regulatory and Management Body for Housing and Settlement
• Coordination and Management Body for Improving the Social Welfare of Disabled People
• National Committee for the Elimination of the Worst Form of Hazardous Work among Children
• Interdepartmental Committee in the Forestry Sector

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